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Prospect [San Francisco CA]

February 15, 2012

Sean and I took a celebratory trip to San Francisco the day we closed on our new house. It was only a weekend but it seemed longer what with all the walking we did up and down hills. It was exhausting; we needed lots of good quality fuel.

Bay Bridge

There were a few brochures and magazines in our hotel room. One of them had a tantalizing photo on its cover: eggs, bacon, pancakes, sausage and potatoes. It doesn’t sound very special but believe you me, it was.

We decided we couldn’t leave the city without trying that place out for Sunday brunch (proof that we eat with our eyes first).  We hoofed it to SoMa from our hotel in Union Square. It wasn’t the short saunter we were hoping for after having walked six miles the day before (I prefer to say 10 kilometres; it sounds like a bigger feat that way).

Anyway, we got to Prospect a little before eleven and it was closed. Sean sat down on the benches outside and I strolled to The Embarcadero to take photos of the Bay Bridge.

The doors opened at eleven sharp. We were led to a table in a corner with great views of the street and the restaurant. The place is quite big, hip and modern.

I ordered ricotta donuts with chocolate sauce and toffee sauce to start. The donuts were light and fluffy and delicious. Unfortunately, the chocolate sauce tasted a bit like candle wax and the toffee sauce was slightly bitter and the sugar had crystallized. Sean had a warm ham, apple and cheddar cheese hand pie – a fancy name for an empanada. It wasn’t very tasty and had confectioner’s sugar sprinkled on top.

Ricotta donuts

Although the starters weren’t super delicious, the mains more than made up for it. Sean chose the Prospector, the breakfast combo the restaurant is known for and which was pictured on that magazine cover. It looked exactly like the photo. Every component was well cooked and delicious, made with good quality ingredients: two strips of bacon, a pork apple sausage, two over easy eggs, corn skillet cakes and home fries.

The Prospector

I had the egg sandwich, a rather deceptive name as it had more than egg in it. The pork belly was crispy and melted in my mouth, the egg was perfectly cooked and the home fries were very tasty. The egg and pork belly were served on a slightly toasted English muffin and the pork belly half had pepper jelly. The jelly was full of flavour but a touch too sweet for my taste.

Egg sandwich

I’ll definitely come back to Prospect the next time we’re in town. I want to see if the crispy pig trotters and the duck hash are as good as the dishes we had.

www.prospectsf.com
300 Spear St.
San Francisco
CA 94105
P: (415) 247-7770
F: (415) 247-7760

2011 in review

January 1, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,700 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar [Dallas TX]

October 15, 2011

My French teacher recommended this restaurant a while ago and I filed the information away. I trusted her judgement for two totally different reasons. On one hand,  she’s a well-travelled woman and people who travel a lot tend to have a more open mind and a more discriminating palate (in my humble opinion). And, on the other hand, her name is Anne, the restaurant is called Saint Ann and my own name is Ana: it was meant to be.

We had a table booked for 8:15 on a Friday. The place was heaving with people. There was an hour’s wait for those without reservations. Ouch!

The layout is very interesting: the bar is on one side and the tables are on the opposite side, divided by a staircase that leads to the restrooms and the small museum that will house a collection of samurai-related art. The eating area opens to the big patio -said the be the biggest in Dallas,- which gives the place a nice flow.

This layout made for very interesting people watching. We noticed the differences in style, hair and even body shape between the ‘burbs and hip, chic downtown/uptown.

We were told that they were planning to change the menu soon and I’m sure the food will be every bit as good as what we were served today.

We ordered two small plates: dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon with a roasted tomato-piquillo pepper sauce and the charcuterie platter. The stuffed dates were my favourite:  the sweetness of the date worked very well with the saltiness of the bacon and the smoky flavour of the chorizo. The charcuterie platter included foie gras pate, which wasn’t bad but had no foie gras taste to it, duck prosciutto (it felt greasy), soppressata. Dijon mustard, cornichons and Melba toast.

Charcuterie platter - Saint Ann

Charcuterie platter - Saint Ann

Sean ordered the Texas Kobe beef burger with pickled onions, Texas cheddar and arugula on a ciabatta bun with sweet potato fries. I swear I could hear angels playing the harp when I tasted the burger. It was packed with flavour! Our waiter told us that the delicious cheese was local and that we could find it at Central Market. The pickled red onion took it to the next level.

I had a baby lettuce and herb salad dressed with olive oil, sherry vinegar and brioche croutons, Simple as it may sound, it was very fresh and delicious. The brioche croutons were more-ish.

For dessert I had a lemon tart with mascarpone cheese. The filling was tart and flavoursome (and I could taste the lemon zest), well balanced by the creamy mascarpone.

Lemon tart with mascarpone cheese - Saint Ann

Lemon tart with mascarpone cheese - Saint Ann

(The quality of the photo isn’t very good because I used my phone and cancelled the flash following diner etiquette rules.)

All in all, Saint Ann is a good place to meet friends for a meal or hang out in the patio with a drink.

 

Next to Saint Ann Court
2501 N. Harwood Street,
Harwood, Dallas, Texas 75201
T: 214.782.9807
info@saintanndallas.com

Glutton & Glee [Guildford, UK]

July 22, 2011

Sean dropped me off at the station to tkae the train into Guildford. I was planning to check out the local museum (interesting and comprehensive, if small), the castle and, of course, the shops.

After walking around Guildford for a while, shopping and seeing the sights, I decided it was time for a much needed break. Now, where to eat? I saw a French bistro that looked interesting but when I’m by myself, I prefer smaller, more intimate environments.

Across the street was this lovely little cafe called Glutton & Glee. What got my attention was the sign outside that read “British food, locally sourced.” So in I went.

 Small and cozy describe it very well: there are three single tables downstairs next to the window, the counter and a couple of ovens (as I was paying, someone was removing a cake from the oven. It smelled delicious.) There is marginally more room upstairs: three single ones and two tables for four. The castle gardens can be seen from the window. I loved the ancient wood beams supporting the ceiling.

 

I ordered a Sherbourne Farm ham and cheddar with Sussex beer mustard on sourdough bread, a lemonade and a coffee. The sandwich came with some potato crisps (or chips, depending who’s reading this) and cost £ 4.95. I’d forgotten that English mustard was such a great sinus cleanser!

The ingredients were fresh and tasty and the coffee was good. The staff are young, enthusiastic and paid attention to every detail. A lovely experience.

Glutton & Glee Cafe

6, Tunsgate

Guildford

GO! Overseas favourite food travel blog!

July 18, 2011

This blog was included in the GO! Overseas for their Top Food Travel Blogs selection.

Thank you very much, we’re honoured!

Bread Winners Cafe and Bakery [Plano TX]

March 30, 2011

Breadwinners has become our new Sunday tradition. We always go to their Plano location on 4021 Preston Road for brunch. It is invariably very busy, especially around noon. Wait time can be up to an hour or more for a table (although we bail if we have to wait that long.)

As soon as you sit down, the server brings a plate with samples of different kinds of cake. That’s my favourite moment. I usually scarf them down before the coffee arrives, although I try to pace myself. The coffee’s good and there are endless refills.

Coffe and cake

As a rule, food here is very good. Portions are big enough to share (although it’s not family style) or take home for dinner. The kitchen is efficient and produces food relatively quickly and consistently.

Their buttermilk pancakes are huge, almost as big as the plate, and light and fluffy. One of my favourite dishes is the French ham Benedicts, with smoked ham, asparagus, over easy eggs and hollandaise sauce served over a croissant. It comes with breakfast potatoes or fresh fruit.

French eggs Benedict

Sean’s favourite is the Southwest migas: scrambled eggs, chorizo, tortilla strips, onions, peppers, jalapenos, salsa and soft tortillas.

Southwest migas

The only item on the menu that I didn’t care for was the queen of hearts salad, the dressing felt sandy in my mouth.

Their baked goods are also delicious. We’ve bought their ginger cake is perfect; moist, spicy and not too sweet. The other day I bought a blueberry and lemon muffin to go. It made my flight more enjoyable!

Snow’s BBQ [Lexington – Texas]

February 9, 2011

Texas in known for it’s barbeque and Texans take pride in this. Every Texan has a secret family recipe for the sauce or the rub or for they way the meat is smoked. So jealously guarded that they would have to kill you if they told you.

There are so many barbeque restaurants and pits in the Lone Star state that it indeed is an incredible accomplishment to be in the top 5. Many Texan towns have staked a claim to the best barbeque: Lockhart, Taylor, Luling, you name it. And there is Lexington, the Mount Olympus of the gods of barbeque.

Lexington is located about 50 miles northeast of Austin, in the Texas hinterland. It’s so small that if you sneeze while driving, chances are you’ll miss it. Its main attraction, for me, is the weekly cattle auction. Unfortunately, they day we arrived it was cancelled because of inclement weather. At least I was able to say hi to a few cows.

Snow’s BBQ opens at 8 on Saturday mornings and closes when they run out of meat, which can happen pretty early. We got there at around 12:45 and they were already cleaning up. There were a few ribs, a chunk of pork and a lonely sausage on the counter. The kind lady behind the counter was sorry we got the leftovers and that they wouldn’t be as good. We were happy to get anything! She added a half chicken, which she said was dry and overcooked. She  weighed the food and gave us a discount (out of pity?), thirty dollars worth of barbeque for twenty, plus a Styrofoam tub of cole slaw and a tub of potato salad fore less than 30 US dollars altogether. She didn’t charge us for the waters.

To call it a no-frills joint is almost a misnomer. They plonk the meat on a tray and away you go. There is a kitchen roll, salt, pepper and hot sauce on each table. We used sheets of kitchen paper as makeshift plates but mainly ate with our fingers.

The potato salad was very tasty and it had dill and chopped pickles. That’s a good idea I’m going to copy. The slaw had the right amount of dressing. It may have looked dry but was perfectly seasoned and flavorful. And the best part (for me) was that it wasn’t sweet (I can’t stand sweet cole slaw.)

The meat is blissfully sauce-free. You’re supplied with a tub of sauce on the side in case you prefer to smear the meat (not necessary, in my humble opinion.) The sauce is tangy, almost vinegary, and ever so slightly sweet. It’s the best I’ve tasted so far.

The sausage had a lot of flavour and was delicious both hot and cold the day after. Although we were forewarned that the chicken was overcooked, we dug in and found it tender and very flavoursome. I picked up a leg and the meat started to slide smoothly off the bone. Need I say more?

The ribs were perfectly cooked, smoky, delicious. They were so tender that if you stared at them hard, the meat fell off the bone. They didn’t need any sauce because it would have masked the smoky, porky flavour of the meat.

The chunks of pork looked sad and dry. By God were we wrong! The meat was incredibly tender and moist, smoky and salty. It was heavenly. It tasted the way real pork should taste. I have to stop typing now, I’m drooling all over the keyboard.

The owners thoughtfully supply tin foil plastic bags for leftovers.

Hands down, this is the best barbeque we’ve ever eaten (outside Argentina, that is.)

 

Snow’s BBQ

516 N. Main

Lexington – Tx 78937

“Opes Saturdays only – 8 am till sold out!